PLEASE keep your letters to 250 words maximum giving your name, address and daytime telephone number - even on emails. Email: Write: Swindon Advertiser, 100 Victoria Road, Swindon, SN1 3BE. Phone: 01793 501806.

Anonymity is granted only at the discretion of the editor, who also reserves the right to edit letters.

We include everyone

During 2013-2014 the SA printed several of my letters in which I stated that through its rhetoric, led by Nigel Farage UKIP spread fear, hatred and division in society.

In November 2014 the SA printed a letter from the then Swindon UKIP chairman John Short who said that my calling UKIP a xenophobic/racist party had upset some of its Swindon membership and he had advised those members to seek legal advice (democracy UKIP style, they shout their bile, but nobody is allowed to challenge them!), so it was no surprise to me when I see the front page headline Sowing the seeds of hate (SA Jan 17 )in which you reported on a speech given by Martin Costello, former parliamentary UKIP candidate for South Swindon, who claimed that Swindon is a ‘third world slum’ and that immigrants have destroyed the town.

Who are these immigrants you are blaming Mr Costello? Are they the young Eastern European ladies who serve me my tea in Neros, the Portuguese couple and their staff who have recently opened up A Taste of Portugal in The Crossing in Swindon centre, the many Goans who wait patiently in all weathers in the town centre to keep the shops clean for you to go into, or the many others who keep the public services going in Swindon?

On Saturday 17 March I shall be travelling to either London or Cardiff like I have done since its inauguration in 2012 to take part in the International Day Against Racism which will see thousands of people of all races, skin colour and religions come together and take to the streets in peaceful protest against the bigotry espoused by Martin Costello. We will listen to politicians, trade unionists and anti-racist campaigners, all of whom want to build an inclusive society regardless of skin colour or religion.

The only way to a peaceful society is to reject the policies of UKIP and other such parties and organisations who thrive on prejudice, ignorance and hatred. We are the many, you are the few Mr Costello.

Martin Webb, Swindon Road, Old Town

Wonderful treatment

After all the bad press about the state of the waiting at the hospitals, which I will not disagree with, I would like to say what a wonderful health service we really do have.

Since before Christmas I have had a few health issues and cannot thank my surgery, Merchiston, or the two consultants and nurses in the MRI scanning unit at the GW hospital. When we have real problems we are given first class treatment.

I have always said I am so glad I paid my national health stamp and myself and my family have certainly had their mony’s worth. Our health would be in a very bad way if we had to pay for all that we have in the hospitals.

Our doctors and nursing staff are working endlessly around the clock to do their job and certainly earn every penny they get and certainly are underpaid. People usually complain about waiting to be seen. It’s not the nurses’ and doctors’ fault - they are so understaffed. Come on goverment, look after those in our own country and stop sending so much money to others. As they say charity begins at home - I really wish it did.

Thank you to you all who have made my life and my families so much easier than having to pay for every blood test, x-ray appointment or injection. We really are so lucky.

June Weller, Bowleymead, Eldene

Lack of evidence

Police Superintendent Sue Austin, Wiltshire Police’s hate crime lead offers the view that with regard to hate crime “We know that under-reporting is still high” (SA 16 Jan), a statement absolutely lacking any hard evidence to support it. She states with conviction that under-reporting is “particularly high in groups from the transgender and gypsy traveller communities”. Again that might well be her opinion and given her job title it might be considered ‘she would say that, wouldn’t she?’ However she surely knows that there is no criminological consensus on the definition or even the validity of the concept of hate crime.

I am sure there has been an exponential rise in hate crime reporting and thus a corresponding rise in convictions, that should come as no surprise, as not only is reporting hate crime actively encouraged; just in case there is any chance of it not being reported, the definition of hate crime has been expanded so that it pretty much includes anything a complainant wants it to mean.

For the police, the need for evidence is secondary when it comes to hate crime, a point reinforced by the formal advice given by the College of Policing which is that “evidence of the hostility is not required for an incident or crime to be recorded as a hate crime of hate incident.” Moreover, you don’t have to be a victim or even in the vicinity of an incident to ‘perceive whether a hate crime has taken place’.

The so called accuracy of hate crime reporting is laid bare when you consider that the College of Policing advise that, for recording purposes, the perception of the victim, or any other person, is the defining factor in determining whether an incident is a hate incident. The victim does not have to justify or provide evidence of their belief.

Evidence of the hostility is not required for an incident or crime to be recorded as a hate crime or hate incident, the complainants perception is the only thing that counts, and police officers should not directly challenge this perception.

The conclusion is clear, no one can question a complainant’s ‘impression that a crime is motivated by hate or prejudice challenged’ – hardly what one might call a rigorous examination of the facts!

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive, Swindon

West’s cup kings

The Town can still keep bragging rights for West Country League Cup success. Bristol City got close but not close enough after their semi-final defeat.

Roger Foord, Chorleywood, Herts